School counselor faces charges for enabling her husband in exploiting a child

May 4, 2022, 6:47 PM | Updated: 8:41 pm

DAVIS COUNTY — Prosecutors are focusing this new charge on what they believe is a betrayal of that trust that a student should have with a school psychologist.

She’s facing the charge thanks to a relatively new law aimed at protecting that right to privacy.

Prosecutors say an eleven-year-old girl was targeted at South Weber Elementary, because of information an accused sexual predator obtained from his wife.

About a year ago, police say 40 year-old Phillip Brandon Stokes started messaging the girl over TikTok, later exchanging nude photos, and eventually leading to sexual contact.

Kent Morgan, a former assistant chief prosecutor in Salt Lake County, and current private counsel with no connection to this case, found the charging documents disturbing to read.

“Even though it’s to her husband, it’s still releasing confidential information to another person…and that is very shocking and unethical,” Morgan said.

Detectives say Natalie Stokes shared sensitive information about the girl she was helping, even casually pointing her out in the neighborhood which investigators believe led Phillip Stokes to see her as a vulnerable target.

The single charge against Natalie Stokes comes through student data privacy amendments, passed in 2019.

“I think even prior to this law being enacted, you could talk about the complicity of an individual conveying information to someone that facilitates child abuse,” Morgan said.

A Davis School District spokesperson tells us Natalie Stokes has been on administrative leave since August of last year, and said in a statement:

“The Davis School District’s goal throughout this process has been to protect students, and it will go to great lengths to do that. It has also worked with law enforcement representatives for months while the investigation continued.”

Stokes was charged just last week with a class A misdemeanor. That means she could face up to a year in jail and a 25-hundred dollar fine if convicted.

The Davis School District said with the new charge they are moving towards terminating her employment.

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School counselor faces charges for enabling her husband in exploiting a child